The first time I ran that far in a race, it was June of 2008, and there were 1,059 finishers, all women. I ran the race with my good friend Lynn, and we had a great time. I finished 335th overall, and 71 out of 205 in my age group, at 1 hour and 1 minute. I was pretty darn happy. I also remember being very hot. That's how things go in Southern California though!
This time around, there were 409 finishers, both male and female, I ran alone (but with a great cheering squad), and I still had a grand time. I finished 246th overall, 116th among the women, 13 out of 30 in my age group, yet I slightly bettered my time to 58 minutes and 4 seconds! Yes, pretty darn happy. And, I may add, the race was at just the right temperature.
I consider this quite an accomplishment seeing as when I signed up for this race nine weeks ago, I wasn't running at all, and hadn't been for quite some time.
When I was a junior in high school, I was on the Varsity Girls Track team. There were, I think, eight of us that year. Maybe ten? I'll have to dig out the yearbook at my parents to confirm, but I remember we were a small and ragtag yet tenacious group of girls who managed to go on to win their sectional title that year.
Granted, we didn't go up against the big schools, but still, we each had to compete in three events in order to scrape up enough points for our wins. Though only one of us was a real rock star runner that year, we were good enough when put all together to pull off the championship. There was a camradarie and a confidence that I'd never felt before with that group; looking at it now, I'm sure it was not as big a deal as we thought, but at the time, we thought we'd done something special for sure.
My love of running had started much earlier, but it was that year with those memories, those feelings of companionship with the other girls and the sense of accomplishment that came with trying my very hardest at something, that has been the fuel that's kept the running embers burning though my adult life.
Now, that fire has faded pretty dim a few times, I'll admit. Most recently, they've been nearly doused these last couple years since we moved here to NY and the little guy came to be with us. I'm not sure how it happened exactly, but between feeling the need to let my body recover from helping the Bug get his start, the uncertainties of "home" and (shamefully) perhaps even the cold wet winters, I just couldn't seem to get myself running again.
This spring I decided to change that. The first step was to sign up for this race; the second was to start running again. I managed to do both. I still am far from being good, but that's no longer the point.
|Warming up with my live-in trainer.|
|I think my trainer could start wearing |
a bib with a number on it!
|The start (I'm in there somewhere, toward the back).|
|Still in the masses toward the beginning of the race, |
waving at the pit crew!
|On the return lap, smiling to be nearly done!|
|Coming up on the finish line!|
|The BEST part of the finish! |
I had such great encouragement from my family
and it made all the difference in the world.
|For comparison: June 2008|